Province urged to increase disability benefit payments

Government seeks suggestions to improve accessibility for the disabled ahead of white paper, summit

Concerns about mobility access for people with disabilities includes access to transit and HandyDart custom transit service.

The provincial government is being urged to raise disability benefit rates that advocates say are far too low.

The call comes as community consultations get underway on issues facing people with disabilities to guide the drafting of a white paper on potential solutions that will be unveiled in June.

The disability benefit rate for a single person is currently $900 a month and the B.C. Coalition of People With Disabilities wants that raised to at least $1,200.

“That amount is for housing, food, clothing and all of life’s necessities and it is not enough to live with comfort and security in this province,” executive director Jane Dyson said.

She said the province deserves credit for increasing the amount that people on disability benefits can earn in wages without penalty to $800 about a year ago.

“That’s a positive step,” she said.

Dyson said a further improvement would be to calculate exempted earnings over the course of a year, rather than on a monthly basis.

She said that would allow people with episodic conditions who can work only a few months at a time to retain more of their wages.

Consultations are scheduled in the Lower Mainland from Jan. 28 to Feb. 13. Details can be found at engage.gov.bc.ca/disabilitywhitepaper, where comments are being collected until March 11.

Among the topics being considered are ways to improve accessibility to reduce barriers to mobility and employment.

Just 56 per cent of people of working age with disabilities are employed, compared to 74 per cent of people aged 15 to 64 who are not disabled.

“What would B.C. look like as the most progressive place in Canada for people and families living with disabilities?” asks the province’s terms of reference for the process, which was a BC Liberal election promise.

“What would make it easier for people with disabilities to work or contribute to the community? What needs to be in place?”

Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Don McRae has pledged to hold a summit on the white paper and its findings in early summer.

Dyson said she hopes the process leads to real solutions rather than a document that just ends up “sitting on a shelf collecting dust.”

 

Just Posted

A look at the latest: Agassiz Harrison holiday events to take you into 2019

A bite-sized look at local news and community events happening in Agassiz… Continue reading

Harrison Hot Springs boat launch surcharge rakes in nearly $6,000

Money delegated for Kent Harrison Search and Rescue team

Agassiz fire chief retiring after 28-year career

Wayne Dyer passing on role to deputy chief and long-time colleage Gerald Basten

Four chances to see Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra’s Messiah in the Valley

Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra brings Handel’s Messiah to Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Aldergrove

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

White Rock to allow dogs on promenade

Plans for a one-year pilot program would continue to ban canines on waterfront from May to August

Most Read